Teams battle in first contest at Vuelta a Espana

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Four US cyclists took the starting line at the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday for the team time trial as the three-week-long bicycle race began in the coastal city of Benidorm.

None of the Americans landed in the Top 10, as Leopard-Trek won the event with a 5-second gap over Liquigas-Cannondale.

Although Leopard's Fabian Cancellara set the pace for his team, the overall leader's jersey went to teammate Jakob Fuglsang.

The strong showing by Liquigas shows they're interested in putting defending champion Vincenzo Nibali on the podium once again.

The four Americans are spread over three teams.

Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee, Washington, is looking to win some sprint stages for the Garmin-Cervelo team, with the help of teammate Andrew Talansky. That will be a challenge at Britain's Mark Cavendish is racing with HTC-Highroad at this year's Vuelta.

Taylor Phinney is riding for BMC Racing. This is his rookie year at the professional level, and the Vuelta will be the 21-year-old's first three-week tour.  Matthew Busche, 26, accompanied Team RadioShack to the race.

The bulk of the US cyclists are riding for teams at the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Championship that gets underway Monday for a week of bike racing in Colorado.

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